Cal/OSHA – We Poke Around, That’s What We Do

This past Wednesday Bill Krycia, Senior Safety Engineer with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, spoke to the Central Valley Safety Society.  His presentation was very informative.  Here are some of the things he said: 

·         Don’t forget your obligation to report to Cal/OSHA in the event of a fatality, serious injury or loss of body part.  The emergency responders have an independent duty to report to Cal/OSHA, so Cal/OSHA will hear about the incident.  If you don’t report, Cal/OSHA will slap you with a $5,000 penalty.  And that’s just the start.  According to Bill, when Cal/OSHA comes to your workplace after a report of fatality or serious injury, “we poke around; that’s what we do.”  What does this mean to you?  Unless you are up-to-date on all things safety, it’s likely that the $5,000 penalty will increase with other violations Cal/OSHA finds during the visit. 

·         Be prepared for a standard for workplace violence in the health care industry.  You can read a copy of the proposed standard here:  https://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/Workplace-Violence-Prevention-in-Health-Care-proptxt.pdf

·         Expect a new standard for hotel housekeeping within the next couple of years.  The Standards Board is already holding hearings on the subject.  You can read about it here:  https://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/minutesSep2015.pdf

·         California’s heat illness prevention standard has been modified.  Action must be taken when the temperature hits 80°F.  Additional requirement are imposed when the temperature reaches 95°F.  Mr. Krycia reminded us that you need a copy of the company’s Heat Illness Prevention Program available on-site for review.  And the Program must be meaningful.  For example, the Program should state that the company replenishes the water supply when the water level reaches a certain level.  You can read a copy of the standard here:  http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html

·         And for those employers with indoor facilities – you are not exempt from possible citation under the heat illness prevention standard.  If your building is exposed to the outdoors, for example, with huge doors, you can be cited as having an outdoor workplace.  In addition you will be cited if Cal/OSHA records a higher temperature inside than outside. 

·         Penalties will be increasing.  Serious violations will increase from $7,000 to $12,000; and willful violations from $70,000 to $124,000.  The penalties will be adjusted annually for inflation.